Canvas Beta Release Notes (2016-06-13)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jun 13, 2016Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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iIn this beta release, Canvas has new features in the Theme Editor. Feature updates are available in Account Settings, Courses, Reports, and SIS Imports, and other changes have been made in Grades, Notifications, Rubrics, and Canvas APIs.


Beta features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing.


Unless otherwise mentioned, features apply to both the current and new Canvas user interface. On July 9, 2016, the new Canvas user interface will no longer be a feature option in Canvas and will be enabled for all institutions.


The beta environment is for testing new and updated features, which are subject to change based on user feedback. Learn more about Canvas Beta.


  New Features



Theme Editor (New Canvas UI)

Theme Collections Page

Previously residing in the Dashboard, Theme Editor functionality has been added to the Account Navigation Menu in the Themes link. The Theme Collections Page allows admins to preview all default Canvas themes and create new themes for their institutions.


All default themes for Canvas can be viewed in the Templates section. Default templates are used as a starting point for admins to create their own themes and cannot be deleted. Any template can be opened in the Theme Editor by hovering over the template.

Note: Some accounts may include the K12 theme even if it is not enabled. Our engineers are currently reviewing this behavior.




Save a Theme

Admins can create a new theme using the Add Theme button or by opening any existing template. Modifying a theme still follows the existing workflow of theme branding; admins can modify the theme elements or upload a custom file and preview the theme.

To save a theme, admins can click the Save Theme button. Once a theme is saved, admins can apply the theme to the account, or they can exit the theme to return to their Theme Collection area.




When the Themes Collection page includes saved themes, the page displays the My Themes section, which shows all themes saved for the account. The account’s current theme is identified by a green bar and check mark icon below the name of the theme.

An account must always have one active theme. If an account includes additional themes, the active theme is ordered first. Any additional themes in the account can be deleted, if necessary, but the active theme cannot be deleted. To apply a different theme, admins must first open the existing theme in the Theme Editor and then clicking the Apply Theme button.




release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas Community.



  Updated Features



Account Settings

Turnitin API Originality Report Default Setting

This feature only applies to the API (plugin) version of Turnitin; it does not apply to the LTI. Turnitin is deprecating their plugin at the end of 2016, so institutions should still transition to the LTI as soon as possible.

For institutions who have enabled the Turnitin API, the Turnitin section in Account Settings includes a menu for the Originality Report. Admins can choose the default setting option for the Originality Report, which applies to all future Turnitin assignments.




When an instructor creates a Turnitin assignment in a course, the Turnitin settings inherit the default setting for the Originality Report. However, instructors can still adjust the default option on a per-assignment basis.




Course Copies

API Turnitin settings are retained in assignments when included in course copies.


Note: For the LTI version, Turnitin is working on retaining settings in course copies. More information will be available in a future Canvas release.



Department Label Change

In the account-level Add a New Course menu, the Department label has been changed to Subaccount; this label update is also shown in the Course Details page. Although subaccounts are essentially used to separate departments in an institution, this change helps align Canvas terminology.


This functionality only applies when admins add a new course from the Courses page in Account Navigation. If a user has the correct permissions, courses can also be added from the Dashboard, but the subaccount field is not included. Starting a course from the Dashboard always places the course in the Default term and the Manually-created Courses subaccount.





SIS Creation Checkbox

This feature was deployed to the production environment on June 13.


In the Provisioning and SIS Export report configuration page, viewing SIS data is optional. The configuration page includes a Created by SIS checkbox, which can be selected for viewing SIS data only. If this checkbox is selected, the selected CSV files also include a Created by SIS column for SIS verification.




SIS Import

Batch Mode Deleted Items Count

When a full batch update is processed in Canvas, the Last Batch information shows the number of deleted items removed during the batch mode cleanup process. Deleted items include the currently supported batch items: enrollments, courses, and sections. The batch mode cleanup process includes a second progress status in the Canvas interface; the SIS Imports API also includes batch cleanup as a workflow state.


SIS CSV User Observers

SIS Import supports user observer CSV files. Admins can create a user_observer.csv to add an observer for an associated student. When an observer is deleted, the observer enrollment(s) for the student are also deleted. Required fields in the user_observer CSV file include observer_id, student_id, and status. Details about user_observer.csv files can also be found in the SIS Import Format Documentation.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas Community.



  Other Updates




Complete/Incomplete Icon Updates

The icons for the complete and incomplete grades in the Gradebook have been updated to match similar icons throughout Canvas. This change does not affect the student Grades page as the icons were updated in a previous release.





Mobile Login Page

The Canvas login page has been redesigned for smaller screen resolutions. This change provides a better user experience for users when logging in to Canvas using a mobile browser. This change also affects the login page in Canvas by Instructure apps.


Note: Currently the mobile login page does not support custom branding unless included in a custom CSS desktop file.





Grading Clarification

Under the Course Activities heading, the Grading notification text has been updated for clarification. The Grading notification relates to both initial grades given for a submission as well as changes to existing grades.

Previously only mentioning grade changes, the scores text has been changed to read Include scores when alerting about grades. This checkbox relates to notifications for both initial submission grading and changes to existing grades. If the checkbox is not selected, the grades are not included as part of the notification, but the notification will still be received for both types of submission grading.


Note: Not all institutions allow scores to be included in notifications. This feature can be enabled or disabled by an admin in Account Settings.





Rubrics Button and Criterion Link Updates

The buttons for adding rubrics in both the Assignments and Rubrics page match similar button styles throughout Canvas. As part of the rubric creation page, the Add Criterion link also has an updated icon.




Theme Editor (New Canvas UI)

Mobile CSS/JS Files

The upload tab for mobile CSS/Javascript (JS) files has been updated for clarification. Mobile CSS/JS files are applied when user content is displayed within the Canvas iOS or Android apps, as well as in third-party apps using the Canvas API. This correction allows user content to display in the apps using the same styling shown in the full browser version of Canvas. However, these files do not apply to user content when viewed in mobile browsers.


User content is defined as any content created in the Rich Content Editor, such as course pages, the course syllabus, and assignment, discussion, and quiz descriptions.




release-notes-bug-fix-icon.png This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:

When an admin uploaded a mobile CSS/JS file, the files were inadvertently included in user content viewed within a mobile browser, but styling was not included for user content within the native mobile apps. Canvas code has been updated to apply mobile CSS/JS files to user content within the mobile apps, as well as in third-party apps using the Canvas API.







For details about using Canvas APIs, please see


Account Notifications API

In the Account Notifications API, users can show account notifications. However, account notifications that have been closed by a user will not be returned.


SIS Imports API

In the SIS Imports API, the cleanup batch workflow state shows when an SIS import is currently cleaning up courses, sections, and enrollments not included in the batch for batch mode imports.

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